Miss USA Pole-Dancing Photos Surface

By Mike Celizic
|  Tuesday, May 18, 2010  |  Updated 3:02 PM EDT
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Miss USA Pole-Dancing Photos Surface

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Headline News called them “racy photos.” TMZ made it sound as if the new Miss USA had done something that would make Larry Flynt turn away in disgust.

The Miss USA pageant wants to know if there are any more out there.

The photographs in question and the video from which them come show the newly-crowned Miss USA, Rima Fakih, three years ago at a women-only striptease class at a Detroit-area gentlemen’s club, sponsored by a local radio station.

They show Fakih doing a playful grind with her back to a stripper’s pole and her hands over her head. She’s dressed in a blue tank top with a relatively high neckline, red shorts and high heels. She did not remove any clothing at the women-only event; in fact, she barely shows her midriff, let alone anything else.

 

The pictures had been on the Mojo in the Morning website since Fakih participated in the contest in 2007, but nobody seemed to take any notice of them, not even when the dark-haired beauty became Miss Michigan USA to earn a spot in the Miss USA pageant that was held last week in Las Vegas.

But as soon as Fakih was crowned Sunday night, the tabloid media started digging for dirt on her. Last year, Miss California USA Carrie Prejean had gotten in trouble when it was discovered she had posed partially nude for at least two different photographers. Similar fates have befallen other beauty pageant contestants dating back to Vanessa Williams, who had to relinquish her Miss America crown in 1984 after nude photos of her surfaced.

TMZ linked Fakih to Prejean and all the others in a gleeful report that called the photos “seedy pole-dancing pictures.”

Mojo, the host of the radio program, told Headline News that Miss Universe/USA pageant officials had called. “They wanted to know, ‘Are these the only photos? Are there more photos? Can we have those photos?’ ” Mojo said.

The DJ defended Fakih, who, he said, has an ongoing relationship with his radio station. “The photos are obviously very sexy, but she’s a very sexy person,” he pointed out.

Mojo said that the station regularly ran a contest that gave women a chance to learn how to do a striptease for their husbands or significant others. In 2007, Fakih, who was then 21, was among those who won a spot in the class, which employed real strippers as instructors.

At the conclusion of the class, the participants had a contest to see which one was the best dancer. No one took off any clothing. Fakih won. The photos and video are taken from her performance.

Mojo said participants in the class come from all walks of life. “There are doctors, there are lawyers, we’ve had judges who have entered this class, there are schoolteachers,” he told Headline News.

 

Besides, he went on, the pictures aren’t nearly as racy as the publicity shots the pageant did showing the Miss USA contestants lounging in bed in lingerie. Fakih’s official shot shows her sitting up, looking at the camera with a come-hither look. She’s wearing a low-cut bra, girdle, garters, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. Donald Trump, co-owner of the pageant, approved of the lingerie shoot.

TMZ even made the prizes Fakih won at the class seem wicked.

“She won some adult toys and a stripper pole,” the voice-over leered.

Said Mojo, “People are trying to make a bigger deal out of this than it is.”

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